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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Campos: 80% of Students Are Worse Off Going to Law School

CamposNational Law Journal:  Book Asks: Are You Sure You Want to Go to Law School? Really?:

Paul Campos, the University of Colorado Law School professor who writes the incendiary Inside the Law School Scam blog, is back at it, with a new book of advice for would-be law students.

Campos said he was inspired to write Don't Go To Law School (Unless) — an electronic book slated to go on sale on Amazon.com this week — in part because so many prospective law students have asked him for counsel about whether they should enroll.

"I'm trying to make it clear to anybody who is considering going to law school right now that they ought to consider that to be a fairly risky endeavor, and should do that in only a fairly narrow set of circumstances," he said. ... Going to law school because you don't know what else to do with a liberal arts undergraduate degree was never a good idea, Campos writes, but it's a particularly poor choice when the average law student graduates with $150,000 in loan debt and a well-paying job is hardly guaranteed. ...

Ultimately, Campos suggests, paying full tuition makes sense at only a handful of elite schools, and paying a significantly reduced tuition only makes sense at between seven and 10 "truly national law schools." Even accepting a free ride makes sense at only about three dozen "good regional schools," by Campos' estimate.

"The most important thing for any prospective law student to keep in mind is that, at present, the large majority of law graduates — perhaps 80% — end up worse off after going to law school that they were before they enrolled," the book reads.

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Comments

"The most important thing for any prospective law student to keep in mind is that, at present, the large majority of law graduates — perhaps 80% — end up worse off after going to law school that they were before they enrolled," the book reads.

The most important thing for prospective law students to realize is that neither Paul Campos nor Schlunk have looked at any long term data and are talking out of their ass to try to get attention.

If they'd looked at the long term comparative data, they would know that those with law degrees do much better than similar students without.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 18, 2012 6:40:07 PM

Anon, that's the key point: the long term data that made law school a great bet in the past no longer apply. The law market has permanently shifted. It was not a temporary bubble caused by the "great recession." The changes in law school graduates' professional prospects are permanent.

There has been a seismic shift in what law school graduates can expect upon graduation. It's naive to think the "old rules" will ever apply again. IMHO this is what the book needs to convey to young students.

Posted by: Reading is Fundamental | Sep 19, 2012 9:05:21 AM

To Anon (professor *ahem)

As Reading is Fundamental points out, there are no long term data available yet that factors in the recent explosion in debt loads. What is so hard to understand about this?

LAW GRAD DEBT has outpaced corresponding employment opportunities/and earning potential for all but the most elite at an almost criminal pace. There is no comparison, as Campos and the like point out. Law schools used to be right-priced. they aren't anymore.

Duh!

Your clear efforts to dismiss/minimize the current data in favor of kindergartenish crtiques of Campos is unfortunate and embarrasing.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 19, 2012 12:49:46 PM

And 99% of students are worse off if they majored in psychology, journalism, and any major that ends in "studies." This isn't a problem limited to law schools.

If college heads had honor and guts, they would abandon their elitist attitudes and start modifying or ending programs so that students could get a reasonable return on their time and tuition, just like other capital investments. The best workers that I have had attended schools like Devry while the most "educated," who had Master's degrees in taxes, had no idea how to complete tax returns.

How long will colleges continue the charade?

Posted by: Woody | Sep 19, 2012 1:16:26 PM

Multiple Choice - A Test of Priorities

Posted by: Woody | Sep 19, 2012 5:18:11 PM

Woody: "And 99% of students are worse off if they majored in psychology, journalism, and any major that ends in "studies." This isn't a problem limited to law schools. "

If we don't count the extra $150-$200K in debt.

Posted by: Barry | Oct 3, 2012 10:17:48 AM